Saturday, March 31, 2018

Daily Thought For March 31, 2018

Getting Ready for Incredible Joy!

Tonight we go back to the beginning. As we ponder Jesus’ crucifixion and death, as we wait eagerly for his resurrection, we sense that something new is about to happen. We stand at the turning point of all history, the critical moment when Jesus passes from death to life and creates everything anew.

It was not enough to patch up the old things. In an ancient homily for Holy Saturday, Jesus is depicted as descending into hell to rescue Adam and Eve. He tells them, “The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you.” No mere touch-up job, Jesus took his new creation to a whole new level!

The very liturgy of the Easter Vigil ushers us into the mystery of this new creation. A new fire is kindled, and a new Paschal candle is lit. Then the Church moves from darkness to light as we light our individual candles from that one flame. New holy water is blessed, and with it new members are brought into the Church. Yes, Jesus is making all things new!

This newness extends to our lives. Jesus has re-created and restored a world that was disordered by sin—and he re-creates each one of us. He who spoke the universe into existence now speaks healing and wholeness into our lives. He doesn’t just patch us up; he gives us a whole new beginning.

So take some time today to pray about this new creation. On this day, when tabernacles are empty, join the whole Church as it waits in silence. Something new, something wonderful, something beautiful is about to burst forth. Its light will shine all over the world. Its power will rescue people from the darkness of sin. Yes, even you can be raised up in a new and exciting way. Jesus is about to rise from the dead. Let him draw you up to heaven with him.


“Lord, create me anew! Take me from death to life, from chaos to order, from darkness to light. Jesus, I believe in you!”

Daily Thought From The Word Among Us (www.wau.org)

Friday, March 30, 2018

Daily Thought For Good Friday (March 30, 2018)

The Cross of Jesus Frees Us To Love

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This year we have also walked along the Way of the Cross, the Via Crucis, evoking again with faith the stages of Christ's Passion. Our eyes have seen again the sufferings and anguish that our Redeemer had to bear in the hour of great sorrow, which marked the climax of his earthly mission. 

Jesus dies on the Cross and lies in the tomb. The day of Good Friday, so permeated by human sadness and religious silence, closes in the silence of meditation and prayer. In returning home, we too, like those who were present at the sacrifice of Jesus, "beat our breasts", recalling what happened (cf. Lk 23: 48). Is it possible to remain indifferent before the death of God? For us, for our salvation he became man and died on the Cross.

Brothers and sisters, our gaze is frequently distracted by scattered and passing earthly interests; let us direct our gaze today toward Christ. Let us pause to contemplate his Cross. The Cross is the source of immortal life, the school of justice and peace, the universal patrimony of pardon and mercy. It is permanent proof of an oblative and infinite love that brought God to become man, vulnerable like us, even to dying crucified. His nailed arms are open to each human being and they invite us to draw near to him, certain that he accepts us and clasps us in an embrace of infinite tenderness: "I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself" (Jn 12: 32).

Through the sorrowful Way of the Cross, the men and women of all ages, reconciled and redeemed by Christ's Blood, have become friends of God, sons and daughters of the Heavenly Father. "Friend" is what Jesus calls Judas and he offers him the last and dramatic call to conversion. He calls each of us friend because he is the true friend of everyone. Unfortunately, we do not always manage to perceive the depth of this limitless love that God has for his creatures. For him there is no distinction of race or culture. Jesus Christ died to liberate the whole of humanity from ignorance of God, from the circle of hate and vengeance, from the slavery to sin. The Cross makes us brothers and sisters.

Let us ask ourselves: but what have we done with this gift? What have we done with the revelation of the Face of God in Christ, with the revelation of God's love that conquers hate. Many, in our age as well, do not know God and cannot find him in the crucified Christ. Many are in search of a love or a liberty that excludes God. Many believe they have no need of God. Dear friends: After having lived together Jesus' Passion, let us this evening allow his sacrifice on the Cross to question us. Let us permit him to put our human certainties in crisis. Let us open our hearts to him. Jesus is the truth that makes us free to love. Let us not be afraid: upon dying, the Lord saved sinners, that is, all of us. The Apostle Peter wrote: Jesus "himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed" (I Pt 2: 24). This is the truth of Good Friday: on the Cross, the Redeemer has restored to us the dignity that belongs to us, has made us adoptive sons and daughters of God whom he has created in his image and likeness. Let us remain, then, in adoration before the Cross. O Christ, crucified King, give us true knowledge of you, the joy for which we yearn, the love that fills our heart, thirsty for the infinite. This is our prayer for this evening, Jesus, Son of God, who died for us on the Cross and was raised up on the third day.
Amen.

Message of Good Friday 2008 Pope Benedict XVI

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Daily Thought For March 29, 2018

You Are Valuable

Have patience with all things - but first with yourself. Never confuse your mistakes with your value as a human being. You are perfectly valuable, creative, worthwhile person simply because you exist. And no amount of triumphs or tribulations can ever change that.

St. Francis de Sales

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Daily Thought For March 28, 2018

With A Strong Faith Even Difficult Events Can Benefit Us 
 
 
The fundamental problem is that we employ too much of our own criteria as to what is and what is not good and we don't have enough confidence in the Wisdom and Power of God. We don't believe that He is capable of utilizing everything for our good and that never, under any circumstance, would He leave us lacking in the essentials - that is to say, lacking anything that would permit us to love more. Because, to grow or to enrich one's spiritual life is to learn to love. Many of the circumstances that I consider damaging could, in fact, be for me, if I had more faith, precious opportunities to love more: to be more patient, more humble, more gentle, more merciful and to abandon myself more in to the hands of God. 
     
Let us then be convinced of this and it will be for us a source of immense strength: God may allow me to occasionally lack money, health, abilities and virtues, but He will never leave me in want of Himself, of His assistance and His mercy or of anything that would allow me to grow unceasingly ever closer to Him, to love Him more intensely, to better love my neighbor and to achieve holiness. 
 
from Searching For And Maintaining Peace — A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart by Fr. Jacques Philippe pp. 44-45

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Daily Thought For March 27, 2018

Some Helpful Tips on Forgiveness

Forgive those who have offended you or your loved ones. In fact, think of the person who has most hurt you or most annoys you. Spend several minutes each day thanking God for that person and asking God to bless him or her. 

Just about everyone can recite the Lord's Prayer from memory. That's precisely the problem, though. We often rattle it off without really thinking about what we are saying. 

"Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." Whenever we pray this line, we are asking God to forgive us in exactly the same way as we forgive those who hurt us. In other words, if we are harboring unforgiveness in our hearts as we say this prayer, we are calling a curse down upon ourselves. 

Let's face it, we are all in desperate need of the mercy of God. But time and time again, the Word of God makes clear that the greatest block to his mercy is resentment. In the Old Testament, Sirach 27:30-28:7 tells us how wrath and anger, cherished and held tight, are poisons that lead to spiritual death. Jesus thinks this is so important that he includes a reminder of this lesson in the central prayer that he teaches to his disciples. And to drive the point home, he tells us the parable of the merciless servant, recorded in the Gospel of Matthew (see 18:21-35). As we listen to the story, we are incensed at the arrogance and hard-heartedness of someone who is forgiven a huge debt yet immediately throttles the neighbor who owes him a fraction of the amount he himself once owed. Incensed, that is, until we realize the story is about us. For all of us who have ever nurtured a grudge are guilty of exactly the same thing. 

Bringing up this issue is rather uncomfortable, because we all have been hun by others. Many have been hurt deeply. Think, for example, of the Widows and orphans of September 11. Is it wrong to have feelings of outrage OVer such crimes? Does forgiveness mean that we excuse the culprits and leave ourselves wide open to further abuse? 

Not at all. First of all, forgiveness is a decision, not a feeling. I think it rather unlikely that the Lord Jesus, in his sacred yet still human heart, had tender feelings of affection for those mocking him as his blood was being drained out on the cross. But he made a decision, expressed in a prayer: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). In other words, there was no vindictiveness, no desire to retaliate and cause pain, suffering, and destruction to those who delighted in causing him pain. Such desire for destructive vengeance is the kind of anger mentioned as one of the seven deadly sins. Instead, Jesus prayed to the Father for their good even as they caused him harm. 

Did Jesus ever experience anger against those who sought his life? Absolutely. Righteous anger is the appropriate response to injustice. It is intended to give us the emotional energy to confront that injustice and overcome it. Recall how livid Jesus was in the face of the Pharisees' hypocrisy, because it was blocking access to his life-giving truth. But notice as well that he overturned the moneychangers' tables, not their lives. 
 
Forgiveness does not mean being a doormat. It does not mean sitting passively by while an alcoholic or abusive family member destroys not only your life but the lives of others. But taking severe, even legal action does not require resentment and vindictiveness. St. John Paul II did not request the release of the man who shot him. But he visited him in prison to offer him forgiveness and friendship. In so doing, he stunned not only his assailant but the whole world. 

from 40 Days, 40 Ways A New Look at Lent by Marcellino D' Ambrosio pp. 45-46

Monday, March 26, 2018

Daily Thought For March 26, 2018

Centered In Prayer

The stillness of prayer is the most essential condition for fruitful action. Before all else, the disciple kneels down.

St. Gianna Beretta Molla

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Daily Thought For March 25, 2018

The Passion — Total Surrender



Lectio

Luke 22:14–23:56

Meditatio

“This is my body.… This cup is the new covenant in my blood.…”

An interesting contemplative exercise would be to jot down in two separate columns the words said by Jesus and those said by everyone else in this Gospel passage.

The disciples and religious and civil leaders say things such as: “Who is the greatest?” “Lord, I am ready to go to death for you!” “Look, here are two swords. Shall we use them?” “If you are the Messiah, tell us.” “This man perverted our nation.” “Crucify him!” (cf. Lk 22:24–23:21).

Jesus says, “This is my body.… This is my blood, which will be shed for you.” “The leader is the one who serves. I am among you as the one who serves.” “You, Peter, will deny me.” “Pray not to enter into temptation.” “Judas, do you betray me with a kiss?” “If I tell you who I am you will not believe me.” “Father, forgive them” (cf. Lk 22:23–23:34).

The words of the disciples and leaders are characterized by self-protection. They are the words of people seeking to plan and control their lives from within their own framework or perspective. They are words of violence toward others. Their words reveal their desire to forfeit their identity for the safety of the rush of the mob. Jesus’ words, on the other hand, show that he has made himself vulnerable, that he will hand himself over for the sake of others. Jesus wasn’t trapped in his own fear of death, but knew himself to exist within a reality more spacious than his own fearful neediness, something ultimately good in which his life was held, beloved, even were he to die on the cross.

In a word, perhaps that was just it. The attitude of the disciples and leaders in the face of threat was one of non-acceptance and fear. Jesus’ attitude was one of acceptance despite his fear.

Oratio

Jesus, when my plans, security, or future are threatened by the cross, I want to protect myself, like the disciples. I want to be first, successful, important, beautiful, happy. I think that if I plan things just right, everything will lead to success. I hold on to everything so tightly, and in grabbing things I crush them. It was only after your crucifixion and resurrection, when you forgave the apostles, that they realized that something greater was planned for their good, that the cross was not a threat and couldn’t ultimately destroy them. They were beloved and safe. They discovered that they could trust you. And so can I. And so will I.

Contemplatio

I am beloved and safe.


Daughters of Saint Paul. (2008). Lenten Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 106–107). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Daily Thought For March 24, 2018

Loving Our Neighbor

You are obliged to love your neighbor as yourself, and loving him, you ought to help him spiritually, with prayer, counseling him with words, and assisting him both spiritually and temporally, according to the need in which he may be, at least with your goodwill if you have nothing else.

St. Catherine of Siena

Friday, March 23, 2018

Daily Thought For March 23, 2018

Great Advice On Our Last Friday of Lent

He will provide the way and the means, such as you could never have imagined. Leave it all to Him, let go of yourself, lose yourself on the Cross, and you will find yourself entirely.

St. Catherine of Siena

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Daily Thought For March 22, 2018

Necessary Care Of Oneself
 
THE VOICE OF CHRIST: 
My CHILD, everyone must take a reasonable care of himself. In time of temptation arouse yourself, warn yourself, guard yourself and avoid idleness. No matter how much you do for others, do not neglect yourself altogether. Beware of too much talking. Whenever possible, try to be alone with Me. Take advantage of My presence. Every moment of your life is lived in My presence. You possess Him Whom the whole world cannot take from you. I am worth more than everything else put together. 
2. If you neglect yourself, you can lose in a short time the spiritual strength which was acquired slowly and with great effort over a long period. Reflect often on the eternal purpose of your earthly life. You have to be a spiritual man to reach this goal. I tell you through My Church how to live this earthly life. There is no other way. Examine your progress each day. In a short time your present Iife will be over. If you have been faithful, you will never again know fear nor sorrow. For the little labor which you do on earth, you will gain a glorious reward and unending joy. I shall not fail those who have been faithful to My Will. 
3. The man who has learned to pray and reflect, looks on self-perfection as his first and highest business. One who studies himself honestly, finds it easy to be silent about others. Learn to hold your tongue about the affairs of others unless your duty obliges you to speak. Fix your attention on your own faults and do something about them. If you are a true man of God, the doings of others will not make you worse than you, are. If you can remedy a bad situation, do so. Many times, however, you can do nothing but pray over the misdeeds of others. Do this as one sinner praying for another, not as a superior being, praying for inferiors. When you have learned to fix your attention on your own affairs, you will find great peace of soul. 
 
THINK: 
As far as I can, I should strive to help others. 
In many things however, I can help only by prayer, good example, and silence. Prayer gives grace to me and others. Good example reminds others of what they should be doing. Silence prevents the spreading of scandal and the flaring of tempers. Minding one's own business is a great virtue. My first task is to save my soul. As far as I can, I must also try to help others live a holier and happier life. Many things, however, are not in my power. After I have done what I can to help matters, I should leave them in God's hands. 
 
PRAY: 
Lord, give me the courage to look at myself, the honesty to admit my faults and limitations, the sincerity to try self-improvement, and the love for You that will keep me at it for the rest of my life. Let me not be concerned about matters that are beyond my control, except to petition Your help. For the rest, let me really live the words: "Thy will be done." Amen. 
  
From My Daily Bread pp. 64-66

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Daily Thought For March 21, 2018

Experiencing Freedom

Shin Dong-hyuk was a prisoner in a North Korean prison camp for twenty-three years before he escaped. But for most of that time, he thought that his life was normal. You see, he was born there. “I just thought that those people who carry guns were born to carry guns,” he said. It took him so long to entertain the thought of escaping because he thought that everyone lived in a camp like his. During his incarceration, if you had asked him the meaning of the word “freedom,” he wouldn’t have known how to answer.

You can hear similarities to Shin’s story in what some Jewish leaders say to Jesus in today’s Gospel: “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone” (John 8:33). Jesus is trying to tell them that they really are slaves—to sin. But they can’t understand what he means. They are observing the Law to the best of their ability; what could possibly be wrong with that? Nothing at all. But Jesus wanted to give them something more.

Jesus wanted his listeners to remain free to obey the Law, but he also wanted them to know the freedom of the Holy Spirit. He wanted them to be free to hear the Spirit speak words of wisdom, love, and guidance; to be freed from self-centered concerns and anxieties; to be free to do the very things that Jesus was doing. In other words, he wanted to give them a freedom based on the power of God living and active in their lives.

As Easter draws near, consider what freedom looks like for you. You may find that, like Shin Dong-hyuk, you have been imprisoned for quite a while without even knowing it. God wants to give you the freedom to become the person you want to be—more patient, more considerate, and more open to the Holy Spirit. He wants to set you free from long-standing resentments and hurts. And he does this so that you can go out and build the kingdom of God with confidence and grace.

Let these truths settle deep into your heart. Then step into the freedom God has prepared for you this Lent.


“Lord, send me your light and your grace—the light to see where I need to change and the grace to make those changes.”

Daily Thought From The Word Among Us (www.wau.org)

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Daily Thought For March 20, 2018

The Search For True Joy & Freedom
   
I don't know what the rules are exactly today, but they used to have a rule at the state university where I served as a chaplain that you're not allowed to have someone of the opposite sex in your room for more than three days. After three days, you've got to change rooms. (Not a good practice for morality.) 
 
Here are all these young adults with their first taste of what they think is "freedom." They can do anything they want. No parents there to watch and impose rules. The kids are away from their families, away from everything else and they think, "I can do anything I want!" I can get drunk every night. I can get high every night. I can have sex every night. I can do anything I want!" FREEDOM, right? And a lot of these kids go ahead and do anything they want. 
 
One night I was walking through the campus and literally passed more than 100 kids. (Yes, I counted them.) Not one of them had a smile on their face. Can you imagine? You mean if you can get drunk every night, if you can get high, if you can have sex with anyone you want, you are not going to be happy? Yeah, that is what I'm saying. Isn't it amazing that when you and I start doing things that are against the will of God, all it does is make us emptier? 
 
Everyone of us has a hole inside of our heart and we are constantly trying to fill it up. We think if we try to fill it up with this or fill it up with that (you fill in the blanks) we're going to be happy. But everything in this world is temporary. 
 
...The only thing that will fill up our emptiness is something that is eternal. The only thing that's eternal is God and His love. So when you try to fill up the emptiness with other things, you're going to stay empty. You are going to be a slave. However, when you fill it up with the love of God, you're going to have peace and freedom because now you're not concerned about yourself. You are whole and fulfilled. Now you can be more concerned about others. Now you can live a life of generosity. This is the exact opposite of what the world tells us, but it is the truth. Everything against the will of God only leaves us empty and makes the hole inside of us bigger. That's why you have to do it, whatever it is, again, and again, and again. Then what happens is that you become slaves to these things. You have to keep doing them again, and again, and again. But Jesus said, Listen, you're a slave, but I've come to set you free! 
 
from Surrender! — The Life-Changing Power of Doing God's Will by Fr. Larry Richards

Monday, March 19, 2018

Daily Thought For March 19, 2018

Practicing Works Of Mercy
 
   Imitating Jesus in his merciful compassion for those in need can often mean giving support and company to the lonely, to the sick, to people who suffer a shameful or barefaced poverty. We try to share their pain and help them sanctify it, as well as trying to remedy their situation as far as we can. Think of how consoling it can be for such a person to have a spell of company, made possible perhaps by sacrificing a bit of free time we may have been looking forward to enjoying. Our simple and friendly conversation with some sick or old person, which should never lack a certain supernatural tone — some uplifting news about the apostolate, maybe — leaves them with a little more faith and confidence in God. Tactfully and helpfully, we can offer them some little service, making their bed perhaps, or reading them part of some agreeable or possibly even amusing spiritual book.
     Every day it is getting more and more necessary to ask God to give us a merciful heart towards all, because as society becomes more dehumanized men's hearts are becoming harder and more insensitive. Justice is a fundamental virtue, it is true, but justice of itself is not enough: charity is needed too. No matter how much social legislation and working conditions improve, men will always need the warmth of a human heart, fraternal and friendly, which is able to identify with those situations that justice alone cannot remedy, because Christian charity cannot be limited to giving things or money to the needy. It seeks, above all, to respect and understand each person for what he is, in his intrinsic dignity as a man and a child of God.
     Mercy should cause us to forgive promptly and from the heart, even though the other party isn't sorry for what has happened or rebuffs our attempts to make up. The Christian cannot harbor any resentment in his heart; he is not at loggerheads with anybody. We have to love also those who are unhappy through their own fault, or even through their own evil actions. The only question God asks us is if that person is unhappy, if he is suffering, because that is enough to make him worth your interest. Try, of course, to protect him from his evil passions, but the moment he suffers, be merciful. 'You shall love your neighbor, not when he deserves it, but because he is your neighbor.'
 
from In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez Volume 4 pp. 522-524

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Daily Thought For March 18, 2018

Surprises In Heaven
     I have often thought that perhaps I owe all the graces with which I have been blessed to some little soul whom I shall know only in heaven.
     Some time ago, I was watching the almost imperceptible flicker of a tiny night light. One of the sisters came up and, having lit her own candle in the dying flame, passed it round to light the candles of the others, and the thought came to me: Who dares glory in her own works? 
     Just one such faint spark can set the whole world on fire. We are so aware of the bright light of the saints set high on the church’s candlestick, and we think we are receiving from them grace and light. But from whence do they borrow their fire? Very possibly from the prayers of some devout and hidden soul whose inward light is not apparent to human eyes, some soul of unrecognized virtue, and in her own sight, of little worth—a dying flame!
     What mysteries shall we one day see revealed! For it is God’s will that here below, we shall give to one another the heavenly treasures with which our Father has enriched us. 


from Simply Surrender Based on the Little Way of Thérèse of Lisieux

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Daily Thought For March 17, 2018

God Always Offers A Helping Hand

Peter stayed on his feet - even when facing the greatest difficulties - as long as he acted with supernatural outlook, with faith, with confidence in the Lord. Later, in order to stay afloat, to receive God's help, he had to cooperate, because when our cooperation is lacking divine help also ceases. It was our Lord who helped him to go on. 

Peter recovered his faith and confidence in Jesus. He climbed aboard the boat with him, and at that moment the wind ceased and calm was restored to the seas and to the hearts of the disciples. They recognized Jesus as their Lord and God. Those who were in the boat worshipped him, saying, Truly, you are the Son of God. 
 
The experience of our personal weakness will serve for us to find Jesus who puts out his hand and enters our heart, giving us great peace in the midst of any trial. We should learn never to be afraid of God, who presents himself in ordinary things, as well as in the physical or moral sufferings we may experience in our lives. Have confidence; it is I, do not fear. God never delays coming to our rescue, and never fails to remedy every need. He arrives — at times in a hidden and mysterious way — at the opportune time. And when, for whatever reason, we find ourselves in a difficult situation — with the wind against us — He comes close to us. He may pass as if to continue on so that we will call out to him, but He will not delay in coming to our side when we do. 

If at times we realize that we are out of our depth, that we are sinking, we should repeat with Peter, Lord, save me! We should neither doubt his Love nor his merciful hand. We should not forget that God does not demand the impossible. Instead, when He makes a request, He asks that we do what we can do, that we ask for what we cannot do and for his help to carry it out.  

What certainty our Lord gives us! He has guaranteed his protection. I do not depend on my own strength. I have in my hands his written word. This is my strength, my certainty, my tranquil haven. Even if the entire world is shaken, I read the written word I carry with me, for it is my fortress, my defense. And what does this word tell me? 'I will be with you until the end of the world, ' it says. 

Christ is with me. What shall I fear? Let the waves of the sea and the fury of the powerful come upon me. That will not weigh me down any more than a spider's web. Let us not let go of his hand. He does not let go of ours. 

from In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez Volume 4 pp. 337-338

Friday, March 16, 2018

Daily Thought For March 16, 2018

Apply The Brakes! The Need For Holy Leisure

     Have you ever found yourself wishing for a big snowstorm that would shut everything down for a few days? Sure, snow can give rise to any number of headaches. But at the same time, snow days can force us into slowing our life's pace a little bit. When work, school, and activities are canceled (and possibly the Internet is down too), we receive a gift of time during which we can play board games, bake treats, reconnect with one another, curl up with a good book, and take a much needed "breather." 
     Taking breathers is not something we Americans are especially good at doing. Surveys reveal that we spend more time on the job than workers in almost every other nation. Our children's lives are typically overbooked as well, their days being filled with sports practices, music and dance lessons, club activities, and increasing amounts of homework. 
     All sorts of negative consequences can arise from excessive activity. We become candidates for burnout and place' ourselves at risk for stress and the related problems of eating disorders, headaches, high blood pressure, depression, drug and alcohol abuse-even suicide! We rob ourselves of opportunities to daydream, reflect, and have fun. Parents don't spend time enjoying their children and passing along their values and adult wisdom. Friends and spouses don't communicate with one another as they should. And we deprive ourselves of the sleep we need, making us crabby, less productive on the job, vulnerable to illness, and dangerous behind the wheel. Giraffes may sleep only thirty minutes a day. We, however, need at least seven or eight hours of restful sleep. 
     Excessive activity can compromise our spiritual life as well, as Jesus himself cautions us. "Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy," he warned, "from ... the anxieties of daily life" (Lk 21:34). When he spoke these words, he was referring to his coming again in glory at the end of time. He didn't want his listeners to be so distracted and busy that they wouldn't be prepared to greet him when he came. But his words are intended for us too. He knows that frenzied activity can produce a flimsy faith, and he longs for us to recognize him when he comes into our lives today. 
     Jesus invites us to slow down, just as he encouraged his disciples to slow down. Once, the disciples had come back together after having been away on missionary journeys, and they surely must have been exhausted. We can also imagine that they wanted to swap tales and share their experiences with each other. Yet so many people were pressing in to speak with Jesus, and with them, that they couldn't find an opportunity to rest and reconnect. And so Jesus, recognizing the disciples' need, invited them to get away from the crowds and spend some time together in a deserted place (sec Mk 6:30-32). 
     The challenge for us is this: If Jesus thought it important to rest and spend quality time with those he loved, shouldn't we do the same? In other words, if as Christians we are to live in imitation of Jesus, then we need to make time for family, friends, and refreshment. The earliest Christians knew this. Their leaders, such as Saint Augustine, emphasized the need for Otium Sanctum, Latin for "holy leisure," which we might understand as slowing down by stepping back from work, not in order to waste time, but use it to nourish our relationships with God and others. 
     We need "holy leisure" because we all can benefit from a measure of balance in our lives. In fact, this is such an important topic that our Church has stressed, in its Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, that leisure is necessary to foster "familial, cultural, social, and religious life." Elsewhere, this same document hopes: "May this leisure be used properly to relax, to fortify the health of soul and body through spontaneous study and activity." Understood this way, leisure time is not wasted time, a conclusion sometimes made in our productivity-obsessed world. Instead, leisure allows us to fulfill our need to spend time with ourselves, spend time with each other, and spend time with the Lord. 
     For the health of our bodies and souls, let's find time for leisure time. Let's gather around our tables and share our stories with each other. Let's open a book or watch a movie that might stretch our minds or soften our hearts. Let's exercise and get the blood really flowing through our veins. Take a good hard look at your commitments and obligations and consider cutting out a few things. Reach out and touch that person you've been meaning to call for so long. Stare at the clouds and dream dreams. Rediscover an old hobby or take up a new one. Play with your kids. Take a mental health day. Take a nap. Say a prayer. 
     Scripture shares that God himself rested after having created the heavens and the earth (Gn 2:2). In the Ten Commandments, God actually insists that we rest like he did, on the Sabbath day, which for us is Sunday. If we truly honored that, we'd enjoy the equivalent of nearly seven weeks of vacation each year! 
     It's claimed that psychologist Carl Jung concluded that hurry isn't of the devil―it is the devil. So if it's the devil we're looking for, by all means, let's speed things up! But if it's God we're seeking, then for heaven's sake, let's slow things down. 

from When Faith Feels Fragile―Help for the Wary, Weak, and Wandering by R. Scott Hurd pp.131-134
 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Daily Thought For March 15, 2018

Deliverance From A False Inferiority

God has given different gifts to different people. There is no basis for feeling inferior to another who has a different gift. Once it is realized that we shall be judged by the gift we have received, rather than the gift we have not, one is completely delivered from a false sense of inferiority.

Venerable Servant of God Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Daily Thought For March 14, 2018

PRAYER OF GRATITUDE
 
    
Thank You, Lord, for all Your gifts of love, especially for those we often overlook. 
 
Thank You for friends; 
they increase our love for You. 
 
Thank You for enemies; 
they increase our tolerance. 
 
Thank You for joys and happiness; they strengthen our faith in You. 
 
Thank You for trials and tribulations; 
they strengthen our trust and perseverance. 
 
Thank You for times when all goes well; they teach us serenity. 
 
Thank You for days when things are rough; they teach us patience. 
 
Thank You for our successes; they increase our confidence. 
 
Thank You for our failures; they increase our humility. 
 
Thank You, Lord, for the "ups" and "downs" of life. 
 
Thank You, Lord, for the precious gift of life itself. 
 
Comfort us when we are disturbed; 
disturb us when we become too comfortable. 
 
Thank You, Lord, for being by our side. Amen. 
 
from Our Lady of Fatima — Book of Prayers pp.222-223

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Daily Thought For March 13, 2018

A Prayer For Peace of Mind

Fortify me with the grace of Your Holy Spirit and give Your peace to my soul that I may be free from all needless anxiety, solicitude and worry. Help me to desire always that which is pleasing and acceptable to You so that Your will may be my will.

St. Francis Xavier Cabrini

Monday, March 12, 2018

Daily Thought For March 12, 2018

 It's Time For An Extreme Makeover In The Church
As happens with certain old buildings. Over the centuries, to adapt to the needs of the moment, they become filled with partitions, staircases, rooms and closets. The time comes when we realize that all these adjustments no longer meet the current needs, but rather are an obstacle, so we must have the courage to knock them down and return the building to the simplicity and linearity of its origins. This was the mission that was received one day by a man who prayed before the Crucifix of San Damiano: “Go, Francis, and repair my Church”.
 
“Who could ever be up to this task?” wondered aghast the Apostle before the superhuman task of being in the world “the fragrance of Christ”; and here is his reply, that still applies today: “We’re not ourselves able to think something as if it came from us; our ability comes from God. He has made us to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; because the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life”(2 Cor 2:16; 3:5-6).
 
May the Holy Spirit, in this moment in which a new time is opening for the Church, full of hope, reawaken in men who are at the window the expectancy of the message, and in the messengers the will to make it reach them, even at the cost of their life.
 
Fr. Raniero Catalamessa

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Daily Thought For March 10, 2018

God Prunes Us Through Misfortunes

   God also prunes us through misfortune. When I was in lithuania shortly after the fall of communism, a man in his seventies came up to me during one of the ministry sessions at the conference we were conducting and asked for prayer. My translator and prayer partner told him we would be glad to pray for him. We asked him what he would like us to pray for. He began to tell us about his life. His father and his brother had both been shot and killed. Another brother had starved to death in prison. He had seen something horrible happen to one of his sisters. 
     Anyone of these things would have been a wrenching experience for someone, but all of them together seemed too much for one person to have to bear. We were sure that this man needed prayer so that he would be able to forgive and receive healing. So we asked him, "Would you like us to pray for healing and forgiveness?" 
     He looked up at us with a big smile and said, "Oh, no. I've forgiven. What I want to pray for is that my enemies will receive the same grace that I have, that they will know the life of Jesus Christ" 
     I was dumbfounded. In all humility, I could only say, "We'll pray with you. But then will you pray with us? There are a lot of things, much smaller, that we are holding on to, things that we haven't forgiven." 
     In spite of this man's terrible tragedy and misfortune, he was still able to accept God's pruning work in his life and bear abundant fruit like most people, he probably experienced bitterness, resentment, hatred, and a desire for revenge at various times. But he prayed for greater faith and for a special grace, and God gave it to him. God's light shone in the face of that man. 
     At that same conference I talked to two other men who had spent seventeen years in prison camps in Siberia before being released. For all those years they had to deal with freezing temperatures and backbreaking work. It was a mystery to me how they ever survived it Unfortunately, they returned with nothing but bitterness and a desire for revenge in their hearts. I could only pray, "God, give them the grace to forgive." I knew that if they failed to do so, their bitterness would eventually destroy them. 
     God prunes us through sin. God prunes us through weakness. And God prunes us through misfortune. Ask him to show you what he is doing in your life. Ask him to help you receive the life that he wants to give you through his pruning action so that his life might grow in you. 
     Mother Teresa regularly prayed a little prayer that Cardinal John Newman composed: "Shine in me, and so be in me, that all with whom I come into contact may know thy presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus." Frankly, the only thing worth living for is that those who see us might see Jesus. Pruning is one of the ways in which our life decreases and God's life increases. 
 
from Pray and Never Lose Heart - The Power of Intercession by Sr. Ann Shields pp.83-84

Friday, March 9, 2018

Daily Thought For March 9, 2018

The Instrument Of Our Salvation
     For the Christian, all adversities accepted with faith and love are called collectively the cross. We choose to see them and realistically deal with them as part of imitating the divine Master, who challenges us to take up the cross and follow him (Mk 8:34)....
     Trials occur in every life, and the cross comes to all. Beginners in the spiritual life usually spend much time and energy trying to pray the cross away. And often enough God in his mercy lifts the cross of suffering, as we see our Savior doing in the Gospel. But trusting that God will lift the cross is only beginning. The Christian making progress learns that in suffering and adversity there is much to be gained. Our Lord accepted his cross when his hour came, and that cross literally became the instrument of our salvation. 

from Quiet Moments with Benedict Groeschel

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Daily Thought For March 7, 2018

Burnout
     
What is burnout? 
 
GOD'S RESPONSE 
[Elijah] went on alone ... He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. "I have had enough, LORD," he said.  (1 Kings 19:4)
 
We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long for the day when we will put on our heavenly bodies. (2 Corinthians 5:2)
 
I am exhausted and completely crushed. My groans come from an anguished heart. (Psalm 38:8)
 
 Burnout is the emotional exhaustion that comes when reality persistently falls short of our expectations. Elijah was convinced that his spiritual victory would transform Ahab's heart and change the spiritual climate of Israel, but instead of implementing reforms, Ahab threatened Elijah's life. Just at the moment of triumph, Elijah grew depressed and quit—classic signs of burnout, which can be a particular problem for Christians. God's power is limitless, but we still live in a fallen world. When our expectations go unmet, the result can be burnout. Learn to recognize burnout before it overwhelms you and renders you ineffective for serving God. 
 
GOD'S PROMISE 
Don't get tired of doing what is good. Don't get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time. (Galatians 6:9) 
 
The One Year Mini-Devotional For Men

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Daily Thought For March 6, 2018

Kindness

How can I show kindness to others? 
 
GOD'S RESPONSE 
The way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and you will continually do good, kind things for others. All the while, you will learn to know God better and better. 
Colossians 1: 1 0 
 
Do for others what you would like them to do for you. 
Matthew 7:12 
 
I myself have gained much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because your kindness has so often refreshed the hearts of God's people. Philemon 1:7
 
 Kindness is not a single act but a lifestyle. It is the habit of being helpful, encouraging, sympathetic, and giving-what you do for others that says, "I'm thinking of you." Even in confrontation you can be kind. You practice kindness in all you do and say, always treating others as you would want to be treated. When you do that, you bring great refreshment to everyone you meet and you honor and please the Lord. Your kindness today may pass on to many generations and leave a lasting impression on more people than you realize. 
 
GOD'S PROMISE 
Your own soul is nourished when you are kind. PROVERBS 11:17 
 
from The One Year Mini For Men

Monday, March 5, 2018

Daily Thought For March 5, 2018

We Need The Gift of The Holy Spirit

If you wish to rise above a life of imperfection, you must, like the apostles, prepare yourself for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Remain watchful and persevere in humble and continual prayers.

When you are ready, my Spirit will come to you as he did to the apostles waiting in expectant faith in the upper room.

You will be given the courage to leave your safe house of prayer and fearlessly announce to the world what you have come to know of my truth and my love, not fearing pain and rejection, but seeing the glory of whatever comes to you.

I will give you a fire of charity strong enough to overcome your fears, your love of comfort, and all the temptations of the Devil.

Having the taste of my charity in your soul you can arise and give birth to it in your neighbors. For you cannot love me without loving your neighbor, nor can you love your neighbor and not love me.
St. Catherine of Sienna
 

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Daily Thought For March 4, 2018

Treat Everyone Well
Our Lord's repeated calls for us to be charitable at all times, and especially in his New Commandment must stimulate us to follow His lead by finding concrete ways of being of help to others, such as by making those at our side happy, realizing that we can never be too extravagant in the practice of this virtue. Most of the time the practice of charity will consist in little details, something as simple as a smile, a word of encouragement, a kind gesture ... In the eyes of God all of this is very pleasing and draws us closer to Him. In our prayer today we should also consider areas where we can easily lack charity if we are not careful: rash judgements, negative criticism, neglect of others due to self-centeredness, forgetfulness ... The Christian way of conduct is not the way of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, but to do good always, even though occasionally such an attitude will not result in any human gain in this world - but at least we will have enriched our hearts. 
 
from In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez Volume Three p.341

Friday, March 2, 2018

Daily Thought For March 2, 2018

Producing Good Fruit

Lectio

Matthew 21:31–43, 45–46

Meditatio

“The Kingdom of God will be …
given to a people that will produce its fruit.”

What a tragic parable Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel reading. This thinly veiled story describes the rejection and death of the Son. God did not allow his plan for the salvation of humanity to be thwarted, however. God’s Kingdom will be given to a people that will produce the fruit that God desires.

Through our baptism we have become members of this people. How can we produce the fruit that God desires? We find the key in the Scripture passage that Jesus quotes: “the stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” Jesus is this cornerstone. Our lives and our very beings must be grounded in him. This began at our baptism when we became members of Christ and his Body. Now we seek to grow in him, becoming more like Jesus every day.
Practically speaking, how can we do this? We begin by trying to know Christ better, through conversation with him and through thoughtful reading of the Scriptures, especially the Gospels. As we become more aware of Jesus’ teachings, we try to think as he does so that our beliefs, thoughts, and attitudes become similar to his.
Our days are filled with actions, words, and choices, and in them all we seek to imitate the virtues that Jesus practiced.

We fumble along, doing the best we can—and realize that we cannot resemble Christ by our own power alone. We need God’s help and grace. Jesus obtained this grace for us with his death and resurrection. Therefore we seek to grow in grace, especially through daily prayer, participating at Mass, and receiving the Eucharist and the sacrament of Reconciliation. The more Jesus is the cornerstone of our lives, the more we bear the fruit God desires. Let us rejoice, for “by the Lord this has been done.”

Oratio

What an immeasurable gift, Lord, to be one of those persons to whom the Kingdom of God has been entrusted! How I long to bear good fruit! I recognize that it is only possible through your assistance and grace. Please help me, Jesus. Fill me with your grace so that I will be grounded in you today. May my thoughts, attitudes, desires, and behavior resemble yours. When I become discouraged, enable me to trust more wholeheartedly in you. When I begin to rely on my personal resources alone, please assist me to turn to you. Please, Jesus, be the cornerstone of my life. Amen.

Contemplatio

Jesus is the cornerstone of my life.

Daughters of Saint Paul. (2008). Lenten Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 46–47). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Daily Thought For March 1, 2018

Helping Others
    
Helping a person in need is good in itself. But the degree of goodness is hugely affected by the attitude with which it is done. If you show resentment because you are helping the person out of a reluctant sense of duty, then the person may recieve your help but may feel awkward and embarrassed. This is because he will feel beholden to you. If, on the other hand, you help the person in a spirit of joy, then the help will be received joyfully. The person will feel neither demeaned nor humiliated by your help, but rather will feel glad to have caused you pleasure by receiving your help. And joy is the appropriate attitude with which to help others because acts of generosity are a source of blessing to the giver as well as the receiver.
 
St. John Chrysostom